The foremost constitutional lawyer, Prof Ben Nwabueze bows out

Paul Nwosu 

By Paul Nwosu

NIGERIA’s foremost constitutional lawyer of global stature, Prof Ben Nwabueze, passed on to celestial glory on Sunday, October 29. Born on December 22, 1931, Prof Ben Nwabueze can be aptly described as one tree that made the forest.

Educated at CMS Central School in his native Atani, from 1938 to 1945 and the then African College, Onitsha from 1947 to 1950, he showed prodigious doggedness in his early educational pursuits. He made education and learning his forte by studying at London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London from 1956 to 1961, and School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, from1961 to 1962.

He served as a Senior Lecturer at Holborn College of Law, London, from 1962 to 1965. He was Senior Lecturer, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) in 1967 but the Nigeria-Biafra civil war truncated his career. He then moved on to become the Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Zambia in 1971, and was Director, Law Practice Institute, Zambia, from 1973 to 1975.

In 1978, Prof. Nwabueze earned the distinction of being awarded the highly coveted Doctor of Laws (LL.D) at the University of London based on his three outstanding books, notably, Constitutionalism, Presidentialism, and Judicialism, thus becoming alongside the late Dr. T.O. Elias the Nigerian and African holders of a higher doctorate degree in Law by published works.

He created the record of being the first academic lawyer to be made a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) in 1978, and this is also strictly based on his published works.

He has been a member of the Senates of the Universities of Lagos, Dar es Salaam, Nairobi, Haile Selassie in Ethiopia, Lesotho, Botswana and Swaziland between 1971 and 1978.

He distinguished himself when he was appointed the University Assessor for Academic Appointments, Universities of Ghana, Lagos, Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), and Jos between 1978 and 1979.

The celebrated author of over thirty books and treatises with an average extent of 400 pages, Prof Ben Nwabueze has written over 200 articles in academic journals and given more than 100 keynote addresses at local and international conferences.

Prof Nwabueze excelled on the Professorial Chairs in stellar Universities such as Univerity of Zambia, 1970 75; Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, 1974; University of Nigeria, Nsukka, 1975 76; Anambra State University of Technology; Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka 1989 1983 (Visiting).

An icon with profound cultural roots, Prof. Ben Nwabueze joined forces with other Igbo personages such as Dr. Akanu Ibiam, Dr. M.I. Okpara, Chief K.O. Mbadiwe, Chief M.N. Ugochukwu, Dr. P.N. Okigbo and Chief Jerome Udoji to found Ohanaeze Ndigbo in 1976, and he served from 1978 to 2004 as the Secretary-General.

He is a recipient of the Nigerian National Order of Merit (NNOM). He has the National Honour of CON.

He held the distinguished title of Oduah Afo-na-isagba of his native Atani. A luminary of illustrious intellectual worth, Prof Ben Nwabueze was a much sought after global citizen.

Commissioner for Information
Anambra State


-November 01, 2023 @ 18:48 GMT |